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  1. #1

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    Default Pass Labs X600.5 Monoblock Power Amplifiers

    Introduction


    Figure 1. The X600.5 meter measures current draw. Some people wish the meter light could be turned off.
    I like it.


    The Parasound Halo JC 1 monoblock power amplifiers in my two channel reference quality audio system were recently replaced with Pass Laboratories X600.5 monoblocks. The X600.5's higher power reserves, faster transient response and lower noise characteristics facilitated a more realistic stereophonic sound stage with heavier images, greater delineation of space between images, greater image stability, greater detail, greater clarity and spectacular bass response. The X600.5s are nearly 2.5 times the cost of the JC 1s. In terms of enhanced stereophonic performance, I do not think that I paid a diminishing returns penalty with this purchase. In terms of listening pleasure, I think the X600.5s are the best audio investment I have made to date.

    A few words regarding the design philosophy behind the X600.5 provide some insight. The following is taken from the X600.5 manual:

    "The X.5 Series amplifiers have the tremendous dynamic range (>140 dB) to do justice to the high-resolution digital recordings of the 21st Century and the elegance to retrieve the micro dynamics offered by the most sensitive loudspeakers. The simple but powerful circuitry moves easily from total silence to explosive transient and back to silence without a trace and without information loss. Very unlike conventional high power amplifiers, they provide this level of power with a subtlety befitting some of the better tube amplifiers. This performance is consistence across the audio spectrum and the amplifiers are unconditionally stable into all speaker loads."


    Furthermore:

    "Listening to my amplifiers is like listening to tubes, but without the hassle." - Nelson Pass


    The Luminous Meters

    My meter needles remain stationary unless heavy bass content is playing. For example, on Whitney Houston's "My Love Is Your Love" ("Greatest Hits" CD) the meter needles moved back and forth about one millimeter. The movements were in synch with the song's Reggae-ish bass beats.

    Break In

    The owner's manual does not specifically address break in requirements. It only mentions that the amps require an hour to fully warm up. The Pass Labs website states the following regarding break in:

    "Most improvement comes in the first 24-36 hours, after which the amps will continue to improve as long as they are left on."


    The dealer recommended playing music for five days straight before doing critical listening. Music was supplied by analog and digital media during listening sessions and by a tuner at other times.

    Right out of the boxes, the X600.5's increase in overall clarity, detail and sound stage characteristics over the JC 1s was immediately obvious. I was not pleased with the initial bass performance, which seemed disjointed from the rest of the sonic presentation and which did not have anywhere near the JC 1's bass speed, bass clarity, bass detail and bass articulation. The X600.5s did produce more tactile sensation. It took four days of playback for the X600.5s to equal the JC 1's bass presentation. After eight days, the X600.5's bass performance exceeded that of the JC 1s. I have not heard any changes or improvements, in any performance aspect, since the eighth day.


    Figure 2. Two big boxes showed up at my door exactly one week after placing the order.

    Heat Load

    The temperatures quoted in this section were taken after break in was completed (eight days on continuously, 145 hours of music play). The room temperature is maintained at 72 degrees F.


    Figure 3. Temperature measurements were taken with a group of Accurite digital thermometers (made in
    Red China (get over it), and purchased at Walmart for $5 each (get over that too!)).



    Figure 4. I had just enough room, 3/8" on each side, to slide in the 19" wide X600.5's. I found out that
    those aggressively sculpted heat sinks are big for good reason.


    The X600.5s draw more idle current than the JC 1s, but run cooler than the JC 1s when idling and just a little hotter than the JC 1s when playing music. The X600.5s generate more heat, but dissipate that heat over a much larger case and much larger heat sinks. The JC 1s are biased into class A for the first 25 watts compared to the X600.5's first 80 watts. The X600.5's case encloses 3,895 cubic inches compared to the JC 1's 2,173.5 cubic inches (increase of 79%). In addition to larger size, the X600.5 case is much thicker and heavier, 132 pounds compared to 64 pounds for the JC 1. The current draws for the JC 1 and X600.5 are shown in table 1.

    Table 1. JC 1 and X600.5 Current Draws.



    Figure 5. The X600.5s are installed in a Salamander Synergy Triple 30 audio credenza with an open back and
    metal mesh doors and sides.



    Figure 6. Quiet (29 dB) fans were installed above the X600.5s, but they are not required during normal
    operation. I cannot hear the fans when music is playing and can barely hear them when no music is playing.


    (Refer to figure 5 for component location references.) During idling and playback at reasonable levels (85-90 dB-C) the X600.5's heat sinks and the cases of the other components do not reach unsafe temperatures. The X600.5's heat sinks reach an average idle temperature of 117 degrees F. The XP-25 preamp above the left X600.5 reaches a case temperature of 104 degrees F. The XP-25 preamp power supply above the right X600.5 reaches a case temperature of 95 degrees F. The components in the middle, going from top to bottom, reach temperatures of 96, 96, 94, and 85 respectively.

    After four hours of playback with material with moderate to heavy bass content, The X600.5's heat sinks reach an average idle temperature of 127 degrees F. The XP-25 preamp above the left X600.5 reaches a case temperature of 108 degrees F. The XP-25 preamp power supply above the right X600.5 reaches a case temperature of 98 degrees F. The components in the middle, going from top to bottom, reach temperatures of 99, 99, 90, and 89 respectively.

    The temperature on the top of the equipment cabinet reached 75 degrees F during idling and 77 degrees F during music play. The X600.5s do not dump a lot of heat into my 3570 cubic foot living room (21'L x 17'W x 10'H). I did not find them to be the "space heaters" that others have complained about.

    Turning on the fans while playing music lowered the amp heat sink temperatures by 5 degrees F and the case temperatures of the other components by 7 to 9 degrees F. I would only run the fans in situations where I needed to play music for many hours and days continuously, such as when breaking in a new component.


    Figure 7. The fans are turned on and off with a radio frequency remote controlled outlet switch.

    An infrared outlet switch would have provided the convenience of using my universal remote to turn the fans on and off, but I would have had to put the switch in a line of sight location rather than out of sight behind the cabinet.

    Fan model and vendor: PQ Fan, HomeTheaterCooling.com.
    Outlet switch model and vendor: Westek RFK306LC, Home Depot.
    15 Amp White Triple Adapter: Leviton R52-00531-00W, Home Depot.

    Construction Quality

    I usually can find something to complain about with regard to construction quality and/or aesthetics, but I'm stumped here. I could nitpick about my preference for black-faced components, but my amplification gear is behind black metal mesh doors...so the silver color is no big deal.


    Figure 8. Initial power-up and function checkout.


    Figure 9. Those handles really helped out with pulling the amps out of their boxes and with maneuvering the
    amps into the equipment cabinet.



    Figure 10. The obligatory peek under the hood.

    As I noted in my XP-25 phono preamp review, the XP-25 is more affected by magnetic fields than my previous Xono phono preamp. Putting four large sheets of cold rolled steel under the XP-25's control module cabinet shelf and four smaller steel sheets under the left side of the control module's chassis (where the input circuitry is located) significantly reduced the hum to a faint level. Adding more steel sheets did not reduce the hum further. I thought I would have more hum issues with the more powerful X600.5, but I actually needed less shielding. I achieved the same level of hum reduction using only the four small sheets under the XP-25's input circuitry. Apparently, the X600.5s use a better shielded transformer.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    Listening Evaluations

    Refer to figures 11 and 12 during discussions of spatial properties.


    Figure 11. Two channel audio system viewed from listening position.


    Figure 12. Two channel audio system viewed from left side.

    (Refer to figure 11.) Replacing the veteran JC 1's with the brand new X600.5s resulted in an immediate contraction of the sound stage in all dimensions. The train sound effect from Sheila E's "Train A' Going" ("Writes of Passage" CD) normally starts at the left wall, which is three feet from the left speaker, continues along the top of the sound stage just under the tops of the speakers and fades away at the right side of the door arch, which is 7 feet from the right speaker. With the new, unbroken in X600.5s, the train started at the vertical and horizontal middle of the left speaker, continued along the top of the audio equipment cabinet, and stopped in the middle of the right speaker.

    (Refer to figures 11 and 12.) On Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" ("Time Out" SACD), the piano is normally behind the chair at the right, the drum kit extends from the left wall to the right edge of the left speaker, the saxophone is immediately at the right edge of the left speaker and the bass is in the center. With the unbroken-in X600.5s, the saxophone was pulled to the center and shared space with the bass. The piano moved from behind the chair at the right to the space between the right speaker and the right chair. The drum kit moved three feet to the right in front of the left speaker.

    It took three days for the sound stage to return to it's pre-X600.5 dimensions. After that time, there were no expansions of sound stage dimensions, but there were significant improvements in image weight, the sense of space between in sound images, clarity and detail. The improved transient response facilitated a greater sense of pace, rhythm and timing. The X600.5 was able to supply more power for demanding transients at the beginning of music passages. Since these initial transients had been previously muted, the impression was that the music sounder "faster" and "livelier" because it was starting "earlier" at points previously unheard.

    From the first note of playback on the first day, the improvement in high frequency weight and detail was immediately obvious. Saxophone reed sound and female voices acquired more clarity, weight and detail. I never realized how beautiful Whitney Houston's voice was until I heard it through the X600.5s...and I have heard her live in concert and I have heard her recordings on many high resolution stereo systems. Her a cappella into for "I Will Always Love You" ("Greatest Hits" CD) was both eerie in its realism and transfixing. I jumped back to the beginning of this intro many times before I allowed the song to play through. When the musical accompaniment began, her voice was clearly the most powerful and most articulate instrument in the sound stage.

    The scenario of repeating the beginning of familiar songs was repeated many times because I was hearing new details in the music. I heard improvements in tactile sensation, clarity, detail, bass articulation, and Krell-ish bass slam (which I did not think was possible with Mosfet transistors) up to the eighth day.

    I am particularly impressed with the clarity, weight and resonance of instruments that are plucked (bass and guitar) and struck (piano, Fender Rhodes, drums, xylophone). Apparently, I did not previously have enough power available to fully flesh out the notes of such instruments. I imagine that there is another level of realism to be discovered if I go even higher in amplifier power.

    In summary, the X600.5 "paints" a more realistic, more complete, more satisfying, more holographic, more emotionally thrilling stereophonic picture. The X600.5s provided Such Good Sound that I am now wondering what the X1000.5s sound like...but that question will have to be addressed in the future, when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now and when I have a dedicated listening room.


    Figure 13. It's easier to reach out and "touch" the phantom images with the lights down low.


    Figure 14. The JC 1s provided many hours of listening pleasure, but my stereo system evolution...like a
    shark, must continue to go forward. I'll sentimentally miss the JC 1s, even though I've moved on to better
    things.



    Figure 15. The Mysterious Monoliths respect the way that the X600.5s "handle" them.

    Historical Perspective

    So much has changed in my audio life during the last seven years. Careful and consistent listening causes your ears to evolve. As I studied and listened more, I became increasingly interested in the aural satisfaction brought by higher resolution stereo systems.


    Figure 16. Two channel stereo system - early 2006.

    The starting point - two channel stereo system in early 2006:

    Adcom GFP-750 Preamplifier
    Adcom GCD-750 HDCD Player
    Adcom GFA-5802 Power Amplifier
    Yamaha PF-800 Turntable
    Nakamichi CA-5A II Preamplifier Used As Phono Stage
    Yamaha MC-705 Moving Coil Cartridge
    Monster Z3 Reference Speaker Cables
    Signal Cable Silver Resolution XLR And RCA Interconnects
    Signal Cable MagicPower Power Cords
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL True Stereo Loudspeakers
    Bello AT-4103 Audio Rack
    One Dedicated AC Outlet For Entire System

    The engineers at Adcom had a list of modifications that would address the cost-cutting measures applied to the GFA-5802 power amplifier. I still have a twinge of regret that I never got around to doing the mods.

    As I have moved up in amplifier quality from the Adcom GFA-5802, to the Parasound Halo JC 1s (4.5X the cost of the Adcom) to the Pass Laboratories X600.5s (11X the cost of the Adcom, 2.44X the cost of the Parasound), I have achieved more realism, more holography, more detail, more clarity, more musicality...and more thrills. Very large reserves of clean, fast, and stable power impart improvements in clarity, liquidity, tactile sensation and emotional impact to well-recorded music that must be heard to be believed.

    Performance Specifications

    Performance specifications provide some insight, but specs can be misleading if you don't know the design specifics. For example, the JC 1 has a slew rate of 130 V/usec compared to the X600.5's "mere" 50 V/usec. That might lead some to believe that the JC 1 is the faster, more agile and more nimble amplifier. Nelson Pass explained the X600.5's lower slew rate this way:

    "In the X600.5 the symmetric voltage gain stage will peak out at about 100 mA. We also take advantage of balanced output stages (halving the slew requirement), and last but not least, we bias the amplifiers high."

    Another thing to consider about specs is that you often don't know if the manufacturer uses rates performance based on average or typical use, worst case, ot ideal conditions. Pass uses conservative ratings, therefore the "typical" user will experience performance much better than spec. Regarding the slew rate spec previously mentioned:

    "...we rate the slew rate as 50 V/uS, but I took a look at one on the bench today and saw about 80 V/uS. You can get a sloppy 160 V/uS if there's no load." - Nelson Pass

    A spreadsheet comparing the JC 1's and the X600.5's specs is attached below.

    Associated Equipment

    Pass Labs XP-30 line level preamplifier
    Pass Labs XP-25 phono preamplifier
    Parasound Halo JC 1 monoblock power amplifiers (400 watts into 8 ohms/800 watts into 4 ohms)
    Cary Audio CD 306 Pro Version SACD player
    Teres Audio Model 255 turntable
    Graham Phantom I Tonearm with Phantom II titanium arm wand
    Ortofon MC Windfeld phono cartridge
    AudioQuest LeoPard phono interconnect
    AudioQuest Sky XLR interconnects
    AudioQuest Everest speaker cables
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL loudspeakers (extensively modified, 4 ohms nominal impedance)
    PS Audio P10 AC Regenerator
    PS Audio AC 12 and Premier SC power cords
    PS Audio PowerBase isolation platforms under SACD player and turntable
    Black Diamond Racing Mark 4 isolation cones and Jumbo Pit isolation pucks under SACD player and turntable.

    References

    Pass-Labs-XP-30-Line-Level-Preamplifier

    Pass-Labs-XP-25-Phono-Stage-Is-It-That-Much-Better-Than-The-Xono

    The-Last-Amplifier-Project-Pass-Labs-X600.5-Monoblocks
    Attached Images
    Last edited by DarqueKnight; 04-21-2013 at 03:00 AM.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    ...but that question will have to be addressed in the future, when I am more dedicated to audio than I am now
    I seriously think you fell down that rabbit hole a very long time ago.


    Great review and congrats.
    HT Setup... Pioneer Elite SC-37, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TL's , Oppo BDP 93
    Two Channel... Carver Statement 450~1 Vacuum Tube Monoblocks, Dodd Mid-line Tube Linestage with Psvane 12Ax7 tubes, Pioneer Pdd 9Mk II SACD Player, Yamaha PX-3 Turntable with Sumiko BPS EvoIII, Polk Audio SDA-SRS 1.2TLs.


    "Everything we have fought for has been lost, and everything we fought against, we have become...."

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    I think you should freelance for magazines

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    Your reviews are always so detailed and enjoyable to read, thanks for sharing.
    Home Theater
    Onkyo PR-SC5508 Sharp LC-70LE847U
    Emotiva XPA-5 Emotiva XPA-2 Emotiva UPA-2
    Front RTi-A9 Wide RTi-A7 Center CSi-A6 Surround FXi-A6 Rear RTi-A3 Sub 2x PSW505
    Sony BDP-S790 Dishnetwork Hopper/Joey Logitech Harmony One Apple TV
    Two Channel
    Oppo 105D BAT VK-500 w/BatPack SDA SRS 2.3 Dreadnought Squeezebox Touch Apple TV

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    Quote Originally Posted by polkfarmboy View Post
    I think you should freelance for magazines
    Agreed!!
    Hot Rodded SDA 1.2TL's, SDA 1C's, SDA CRS+'s...
    Powered By Wyred 4 Sound, STP-SE, SX-1000...
    MIT-Shotgun's ...

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    Great Review! That's an awesome set up you have. What do you plan to do with the JC 1's ? And how far have you made the Needles move on the x600.5's?
    Samsung UN55C6500 55" LED
    Onkyo TX-NR3007
    Polk Audio RT5000
    -RT3000 front
    -CS1000 center
    -FX1000 dipole
    Polk Audio PSW1000 5.1 sub
    Polk Audio microPRO 4000 x2 5.2 subs

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    Congratulations on your acquisition of those beautiful amplifiers. Excellent and informative write up as well. You've come a long way in 7 years!
    System
    ModWright SWL 9.0SE Signature Preamp | Aragon 8008 Mk II Amplifier
    Sonus Faber Cremona Loudspeakers
    Squeezebox Touch |Rega DAC
    | Jolida JD-100A CDP | Sansui TU-717 Tuner (Joseph Chow Mods)

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    Great review! Enjoyed the read like all your write ups DK.

    I would be happy to try the baby models.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nooshinjohn View Post
    I seriously think you fell down that rabbit hole a very long time ago.
    No, I'm still standing at the edges trying to decide if I want to jump in.

    Quote Originally Posted by chris23120 View Post
    What do you plan to do with the JC 1's?
    Once I decided to keep the X600.5s, the JC 1s were traded in.

    Quote Originally Posted by chris23120 View Post
    And how far have you made the Needles move on the x600.5's?
    Three millimeters from the idle position. This was at a constant sound pressure level of 110 dB-C playing music with a heavy pulsating bass beat. The volume control was set at 75 (it ranges from 0 to 99 in 1 dB increments).
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!
    'Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end."

  12. #12

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    Sounds like some excellent amps Ray! I'm happy for you.
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

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    great set up. Congratulations! By the way, great review as well. Whay kind of speakers are those?

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    from my perspective you are at the end of the rabbit hole,
    thanks for letting us know what it's like there.
    can't imagine any more "updates" are in the works.
    Love, Love the system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jumpindick View Post
    Whay kind of speakers are those?
    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    Polk Audio SDA SRS 1.2TL loudspeakers (extensively modified, 4 ohms nominal impedance)
    Quote Originally Posted by Ducati Guy View Post
    can't imagine any more "updates" are in the works.
    There's always something better around the corner.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    There's always something better around the corner.
    With what you have, it's hard to imagine something better. From all the reviews you've put out, it seems the speakers aren't moving from their current location and now you're sitting pretty as Cleanup in the Major's with your equipment.

    With that said....what are in your sites next?!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbiron View Post
    With that said....what are in your sites next?!
    Sending my Graham Phantom I tonearm to the factory to be upgraded to the Phantom II Supreme.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    I'm still jealous. It's nice that you allow us to live vicariously through you.


    Personally, I sometimes feel I would just stop the researching and listening and just enjoy my system for what it is (not that I don't enjoy it, I just know there's a long journey yet to travel). It's a heckuva lot cheaper, but getting to a pinnacle like you've achieved has to be breathtaking. Dedicated room or not, you still have a fantastic room more than worthy to house all those 'toys'. Congrats on the big boys again.
    Usher CP-6311, Shuguang S200MK, Shuguang S845MK, Pioneer BDP-51fd, Douglas IC's, AQ cv-8 SC's, Pangea/Douglas PC's, Epson 8100

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    Great review, great system. Nice that you included progression of your system.

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    Great review as always. If you're not at the pinnacle, you can hit it with a rock from where you stand
    "Science is suppose to explain observations not dismiss them as impossible" - Norm on AA; 2.3TL's w/sonicaps/mills, polyswitches removed, Lg Solen inductors, RD-0198's, MW's dynamatted, Armaflex speaker gaskets, H-nuts, brass spikes, Cardas CCGR binding posts, upgraded IC Cable, Black Hole Damping Sheets (3" strips) installed on back wall behind MW's & Tweeters, interior of cabinets sealed, AI-1 interface with 1000VA transformer

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    Hello there,

    Great article. I recently outfitted my Salamander Triple 30 with 2x JC-1 Monoblocks in the same configuration as your X600.5's. I am running them in low bias mode while they break in and while I await an order of cooling fans from HTC. I was wondering, how did you attach the fans .. are they simply bolted to the back of one one of the shelves?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayhikski View Post
    Hello there,

    Great article. I recently outfitted my Salamander Triple 30 with 2x JC-1 Monoblocks in the same configuration as your X600.5's. I am running them in low bias mode while they break in and while I await an order of cooling fans from HTC. I was wondering, how did you attach the fans .. are they simply bolted to the back of one one of the shelves?

    Thanks!
    Welcome to the forum. Sorry about the delay in responding. Due to a glitch in the forum software, I no longer get email notifications when someone responds to one of my threads. I only saw your question while revisiting the thread in preparation for a one year update report.

    I used clothes hanger wire to make "clips" to attach the fans to the rear of the cabinet shelves. I cut a 13" section of wire from the straight part of the hanger and bent it into a "U" shape with each side 6" long and the bottom 1" long. I then bent the sides inward toward each other so that the ends crossed over each other. The crisscrossing provided tension to hold the fan in place. There were holes at each corner of the fan frame. A "U" bracket was inserted into each of the upper corner holes and the fan was slipped onto the rear of the shelf.

    In figure 6, you can see the wire protruding from the upper right mounting hole of the fan.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    That's the stuff hi-fi dreams are made of. Spectacular!

    Source: Squeezebox Touch/CIA Power Supply
    DAC: Benchmark DAC/PRE
    Linestage: Placette RVC Passive
    Power Amp: Parasound HCA-1500A
    Speakers: Harbeth Compact 7ES-3 Monitor
    Subwoofer: SVS PB12-NSD

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    Great review! Sweet looking system and that turntable looks like a work of art!

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    Yup...still hate Ray... (In the friendliest and most respectful sense of the word of course.)
    "Unwad those panties and have a good time man. We're all here to help each other, no matter how it might appear." DSkip
    I may have an addiction... RTA-15TL, SDA 2, LSi25, LSi15, LSi9, LSi7, LSiCx2, LSiFX, LS/FX, RT/FX, DSW MP2000...and that's just the Polks...

  26. #26

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    Default Pass Labs X600.5 - One Year Follow Up

    Introduction

    One year out I am still thrilled with my investment in the X600.5s, which were installed on 4/10/13. The amp's sound significantly improved during the first 8 days of use, then reached a performance plateau, then after a month of being on 24/7, there was a further increase in image weight and bass weight. No further improvements or changes were observed until vibration abatement was applied in October of 2013 and no improvements or changes were observed thereafter. The amps have been left on continuously since installation and have only been turned off for very brief periods of time when switching components or cables during equipment measurements or trials.

    Pass Labs introduced a ".8" series of amps in January of 2014 that has higher class A output. In the case of the X600.8, it offers 100 watts of class A operation compared to the X600.5's 80 watts of class A operation. The X600.8 costs 18% more than the X600.5. Since I am still on a "honeymoon" with the X600.5s, it will be a while before I consider upgrading.

    Meter Gymmastics

    Those of you who are not Pass amplifier owners may want to skip this section since "meter movement" is somewhat of an inside joke. The meter movement of a Pass Labs power amplifier indicates the state of bias current at a particular time. When the needle is stationary, the amplifier is operating in pure class A mode. When the needle moves, it indicates class AB operation.

    I only see my meters move under two conditions: (1) Heavy bass content during at normal listening levels. (2) Heavy bass content during higher than normal listening levels. Here are two example videos. The videos were taken with the following equipment and were posted to YouTube straight out of the camera with no video or audio post processing:

    Camera: Nikon D800 (Set at ISO 2200, 30 fps, f/3.5, 1080p)
    Lens: Nikon Nikkor AF-S f/2.8 24-70mm Zoom
    Microphone: Nikon ME-1 Stereo Microphone (70-16,000 Hz FR) mounted on a tripod.

    The music in the first video is "Isunova Pi" by E. S. Posthumous ("Cartographer" CD). The needle moved during the heaviest bass notes, most notably during the first 20 seconds. The average sound pressure level was 90 dB-C. The XP-30 preamp volume was set at 64.


    Video 1. Meter movement at normal listening levels.

    The music in the second video is "Your Love Is My Love" by Whitney Houston ("Whitney's Greatest Hits" CD). The needle moved constantly during the driving bass beats. The sound level was turned up to 72 to get an average sound pressure level of 104 dB-C. This resulted in easily noticeable meter movement (and the need to wear ear plugs). At normal listening levels the meter barely moved during the bass beats.


    Video 2. Meter movement at high listening levels.

    I was surprised the audio came out as well as it did considering the D800's relatively "noisy" audio circuits (which are optimized for voice) and the limited frequency response of the "cheap" ME-1 microphone.

    Increased Electricity Usage

    As previously mentioned, I prefer to keep my power amps on continuously. The X600.5s draw 25% more current and consume 25% more power at idle than my previous power amps, Parasound Halo JC 1s. Table 1 shows the differences in idle current draw and idle power consumption between the two amplifiers.

    Table 1. Parasound Halo JC 1 and Pass Laboratories X600.5 Idle Power Consumption

    Table 2 shows my electricity bills before and after (in red) the X600.5s were in stalled on 4/10/13. The June 2013 bill, which covered the period from April 23, 2013 to May 22, 2013 was the first full month of X600.5 use.

    Table 2. Electricity Bills Before And After X600.5 Installation

    At $0.09 per kilowatt hour, the JC 1s cost $41.60 per month to run continuously. The X600.5s cost $55.66 per month to run continuously, which was an increase of 33.8% ($14.06) over the JC 1s...and it was/is worth it! All the amounts in red in table 2 would be $14.06 less if I still had the JC 1s.

    Audio System Upgrades After The X600.5s

    I've done a tweak hear or there during the preceding 12 months. Nothing major, just some further efforts in electrical and mechanical noise abatement. It's nice to be able to sit and listen without thinking about a bucket list of audio projects.

    1. Black Hole 5 vibration damping material for SDA SRS 1.2TL loudspeakers. (4/26/13)
    2. Dynamat Xtreme vibration damping material for XP-30 and XP-25 preamps and X600.5 power amps. (10/11/13)
    3. Dynamat Xtreme vibration damping material for Cary CD 306 PV SACD/CD player. (10/12/13)
    4. PS Audio AC 12 power cords for preamplifiers and source components. (11/09/13)
    5. AudioQuest Perfect Surface Silver jumpers for SDA SRS 1.2TL loudspeakers. (4/09/14)
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    __________________
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK

  27. #27

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    Come on man you've had a week now.... where's the review on the AQ jumpers?

  28. #28

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    I sent it to the AVScience forum be reviewed for scientific accuracy before publishing it here.
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    __________________
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK

  29. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by DarqueKnight View Post
    I sent it to the AVScience forum be reviewed for scientific accuracy before publishing it here.
    Smart move Ray (if you like "objective scientific reviews").
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:

    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion."

    "Green leaves reveal the heart spoken Khatru"- Jon Anderson

    "Have A Little Faith! And Everything You'll Face, Will Jump From Out Right On Into Place! Yeah! Take A Little Time! And Everything You'll Find, Will Move From Gloom Right On Into Shine!"- Arthur Lee

  30. #30

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    with all the stuff you have now you need POLK LSIM707, BW802 or more! (I was astounished when I listen FOCAL GRANDE-UTOPIA 4 years ago) The big SRS are extremely good but some say here the best sonic polk SDA are the SDA-2 ???!!!...Also, I am sure, you're SRS sound marvelous with all this electronics.

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